Sunday, January 15, 2012

Homemade Laundry Soap


In the interest of saving money, I have been perusing sites on how to make my own cleaners and laundry soaps.  I am a little (okay, a lot) obsessive about my cleaning and laundry, though, and usually find a reason or two not to use a particular recipe.  I believe in bleach and use it everywhere.  I believe in washing all bedding in my house at least once a week.  I believe in washing my pillows as often as my pillowcases; I believe in cleaning out the garbage disposal with vinegar and baking soda weekly and I believe in the sanitation cycle on my dishwasher.  You can see that making my own cleaners is quite a leap of faith for me.

I did find a recipe for laundry soap that intrigued me, though.  It's a dry soap that works great with cold water!   I decided that the initial investment of less than twenty dollars was not too much for me to try it out.  I go through one and a half big things of Tide a month. . . this adds up to about $30 a month in laundry detergent.  I also used fabric softener and bleach in the wash which adds to the overall cost.  I thought I'd give it a try.

I have a high efficiency front loader so I was a bit leery about trying anything but this one works!  I use about 2 tablespoons and put it directly into the drum.  I can use my cold water cycles, no problem!  It gets my clothes so soft I don't use fabric softener.   My bleach loads that I do once a week?  Not again!  This works better than bleach to whiten the unmentionables!  

Here's the magic recipe.  I tweeked it a teeny bit from the recipe on the original site because I had some extra stuff on hand and thought "why not"?

one 4 pound box of borax
one 4 pound box of baking soda
one 3 lb 7 oz box of Arm and Hammer's washing soda
3 bars of Fels-Namptha soap
four pounds total of oxy-clean (or generic)
one bar of soap (like Ivory or some other all natural soap.  I used Zum because it was what I had)


All of this is found in the laundry aisle at Walmart except for the Ivory soap.

You start out by grating the bars of soap like cheese.  You could use a food processor if you wanted.  When I was done, I popped the grater into the dishwasher.  It's just soap so it won't ruin your processor for food use.  Just wash it well!

The second step is to mix everything together.  You are done!  I used a bucket I had in the garage that I washed out for this step.
 
You have to figure out what to do with this massive amount of laundry soap. . . here's what I did!


I bought a 1 1/2 gallon plastic jar at Target.  It was on clearance. . . yeah!

I used my Sizzix to cut out vinyl letters.  I filled it and set it out for daily use!  It doesn't hold the entire batch (I still have an ice cream bucket and an oxy clean container of soap left to put in when this runs low) but it makes it so that I have some handy. 



My scoop is an oxy clean scoop that I trimmed so that it won't hold more than the two tablespoons I use per wash load.  I use less for smaller loads.  The soap always dissolves, even in cold.  And, the best thing?  I have used this for a month and I'm less than a quarter of the way through what I have made.  I am guessing that it will take four to five months to use all of this AND I don't have to buy fabric softener anymore!



The scent is very light and very fresh.  For the bedding I would like to have a stronger scent, I buy the Purex in wash scent booster crystals.  It's cheap, doesn't take much, and it lasts because I only do the guest bedding and the family's bath towels with it.   If you've tossed around the idea of making your own laundry soap, I recommend trying this one.


If I do it again:


I might try a food processor instead of the grater next time.  It took a LONG time to grate four bars of soap!  It's a lot harder than cheese!

17 comments:

  1. Can't wait to try this soap!
    Pat Sisk

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  2. I loved the sample my mom gave me to try and I'm ready to make a batch of my own! One question, though: I don't have a front-loading HE washer. Do you think I should be using more than 1-2 T per load?

    Thanks!
    Erin Francis

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    1. My friend uses a heaping coffee measuring cup in her regular washer. The measuring cup is 1/8c so with it heaping it's probably a little under 3T. She has no problems with it dissolving in cold water. Hope this helps!!! Glad you like it! I tried using up the last little bit of Tide about a month ago and noticed that the grease spots that end up on my kids' shirts (no one believes in napkins here) were back and I had to pretreat again. That's probably the biggest improvement I've seen since switching to this homemade stuff. I don't have to Shout anything!

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  3. Please help - what did I do wrong?!!! Maybe I didn't mix it well enough? I put all ingredients in to a huge bucket and mixed. Then I washed my first batch overcome with excitement for my thriftiness and my first load was a failure. My sheets are dinghy and by far clean. I have do wash them again. Thoughts?

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  4. Oh, no! I'm sorry your results weren't fantastic!

    I have a few thoughts. . . first, did you use washing soda and baking soda? They're two different things.

    Second, I'm wondering if you have super hard water. We are lucky and have a water softener. Before we got a water softener, I used to put in a cup of vinegar instead of fabric softener in my laundry. You can put it in those Downey balls or in the fabric softener dispenser of your washer. It helps get any sort of residue out of your clothes and softens it. I will keep thinking about it but those are the only two things I can think of. Sorry it was a crummy project for you! We've been doing it for a year and I couldn't be happier. I wish you had those results!

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  5. Thanks for responding so promptly! I am definitely not giving up and need to figure out what I did wrong. We don't have hard water and I used both the baking soda and the washing soda. I'm thinking I must not have mixed it well enough. How do you ensure you get it really mixed up? Also, I'm wondering when is it best to put it in the drum? Before you load it up or after? I WILL CONCUR!!! Thanks again!

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  6. I also tried a few variations and our laundry was getting dingy so here's what I tweaked and now it works GREAT! First, I chop the soap bar into chunks & use a food processor to do the rest, grating took WAY too long and the soap didn't dissolve as well in the cold water when it was bigger pieces. Also, we just have a regular top load machine with a HUGE capacity, so I have to use about 1/2 cup of this mixture to get everything well clean. Also, I add the Purex scent booster crystals to my entire mix, I love the smell of fresh clean laundry! I always turn the washer on, add the soap, then add the clothes. Growing up we always had white marks from where the store-bought powdered soap touched the clothes before it dissolved and that always bugged me so I'm super picky about it now!

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  7. I also used the food processor, but I put the bars of soap in the frezzer first and than chopped before using processor. Worker great!

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  8. Can u put this in your didhwasher

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    1. No, don't put it in your dishwasher! This will suds up quite a bit and won't rinse off your dishes. I do have a dishwashing soap recipe on the blog. . http://www.creativethriftiness.com/2012/09/homemade-dishwasher-soap.html.

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  9. This is great! Thanks so much for posting. In response to your quandary over storage, there are some large (11 and 22 lb) rice storage containers available that might work for you.

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  10. OK so doing this for the first time. Couple questions...I don't see lots of suds is that normal? Also, does it work with hit water too?

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    1. This works great with hot water. It won't make a lot of suds so that is normal.

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  11. Hi, ur idea is great. But i dnt find fels naptha soap anywhere. Is there any other one which i can use

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    1. Zote soap works just as well! It's also a stronger stain remover. I found Zote soap at hardware stores. I found Fels Namptha at WalMart. I think Home Depot even sells the pink Zote soap.

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  12. How many loads will this mix do and how much does it cost per load? Does anyone know?

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